Leader of Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago dies at 89

CHICAGO — The leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago Metropolitan Iakovos died Friday night after leading the church in the Chicago area for nearly 40 years.

Metropolitan Iakovos died suddenly after undergoing surgery for a sudden “unexpected” illness at Weiss Memorial Hospital, the church said in a statement. He was 89 years old.

Iakovos oversaw the Metropolis of Chicago, which consists of 34 parishes in Illinois, and 24 parishes in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana and Missouri. His leadership of the Greek Orthodox Church in the area spanned nearly 40 years, including when he was enthroned as Bishop of Chicago in 1979, and later elected as the first Metropolitan of the newly-elevated Metropolis of Chicago in 2003.

The church said under his tenure they were able to increase initiatives in philanthropy and social justice, including assisting the homeless, youth programs, and promoting justice in partnership with other area religious leaders.

Portrait of Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, provided by the Greek Orthodox Church.